KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Islamic development authority has urged Muslims not to play the “harmful” and “dangerous” Pokemon Go mobile game.
Pokemon Go was released on Saturday (Aug 6) in the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian nation, sending scores of people outdoors in search of cartoon monsters to “catch” on their mobile phones.
The following day, the director of the Department of Islamic Development of Malaysia (Jakim), Othman Mustapha, issued a statement supporting a Federal Territories-level fatwa (Islamic legal ruling) issued days earlier against the game.
“The decision (by the Federal Territories’ authorities) is in line with the views of the law in other Muslim countries which have prove Pokemon Go is the cause of incidents that endanger people to the point of threatening their lives,” he said.
“This game will also cause negative effects on children and teenagers. Therefore, Jakim urges Muslims in this country to avoid playing Pokemon Go.”
There have been reports from around the world of accidents and robberies affecting distracted Pokemon Go users.
Iran has banned the game altogether while other countries have issued warnings about the app.
On Sunday, a man was given a traffic summons in the Malaysian state of Pahang for using Pokemon Go while driving.
Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai posted on Twitter the same day warning Pokemon Go users not to play the game and drive.